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Scott Wilson, Founder of North East Trees, Dies

Eagle Rock’s foremost green visionary, who had an impact on the wider environmental community, died as the result of a fall, sustained while working on a tree in his garden earlier this week.

Scott Wilson, a longtime Eagle Rock resident, retired teacher and landscape architect who was instrumental in the greening of large parts of the neighborhood, died Monday morning from a weekend fall sustained while cutting flowers from a tree in the garden of his Olson Street home. He was 89.

Shortly after the incident Saturday, paramedics rushed Wilson to Glendale Adventist Hospital, where he never regained consciousness, said his daughter Christine Richards. He passed away peacefully at the hospital, with his family present by his side, she added.

In 1989 Wilson founded North East Trees, a nonprofit environmental group devoted to planting at least five trees a day for the rest of his life—more than 50,000 so far—as well as ensuring jobs in the green industry for at-risk youth.

North East Trees also playeda vital roll at Garvanza Park in Highland Park, which will aid in stormwater treatmentand prevent polution.

A keen mentor, Wilson was a constant—and ever-cheerful—organizer of tree planting drives in Eagle Rock and beyond. Among the numerous trees he is credited with planting is a string of oaks about 30 years old in Occidental College that are scheduled to be cut down to make way for a state-of-the-art solar array project on the campus.

Wilson was a figure admired in the wider environmentalist community; several open space and green space advocates told Patch in emails that he was an inspiration to people working on similar environmental issues in Altadena.

Some 20 years ago, Wilson also planted many of the trees that line Townsend Avenue in Highland Park.

“Everybody knew my dad and everybody has a story about him,” said Richards. “He has positively impacted so many people's lives and will be dearly missed.”

A tribute to Wilson, a celebration of his life, is planned from 2-5 p.m., Sunday, November 27, at the on Hermosa Avenue.

khadija November 10, 2011 at 04:50 PM
I met Scott Wilson at a permaculture workshop this past spring. When he arrived the leader of the workshop, a guru of the permaculture biz himself, was awestruck and honored that Scott had come to see what we were up to. I posted on facebook and a friend from my college in Olympia, WA said that he was her uncle! She wrote fondly, "He was a very magnetic person -- when I was young, all the kids followed him around like the Pied Piper". RIP Scott Wilson!
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